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Missy McDonald, research coordinator in the Tickle College of Engineering Office of Engineering Research

Staff Profile: Missy McDonald

Missy McDonald is a research coordinator for the Engineering Research Office. She and her team colleagues help faculty with all aspects of proposal support, from the initial planning stages through submission to the funding agency. She can also help with editing assistance on journal manuscripts (though, proposals take priority).

Before coming to UT, I was a technical editor for more than 20 years, at ORNL most recently,” said McDonald. “And before that, at Oak Ridge firms doing primarily federal contracting, working mostly on environmental technical reports and publications.

McDonald is a lifelong Knoxville resident and graduated from here at UT, where she majored in English with a concentration in literature. Being a Vol is a bit of a family tradition.

“My parents both retired from UT,” she said. “My dad was a history professor, and my mom worked at the Center for Business & Economic Research.”

McDonald launched what she calls her second career when she joined the engineering research office.

“I left ORNL almost seven years ago and learned this job from the ground up,” she said. “I had looked at an Excel spreadsheet maybe a few times before I began in research administration and now use that program daily. For someone who had never been a numbers person, that was a culture shock.

While admitting that the shift took some getting used to, McDonald has thrived here.

“This past December, I earned my certification in research administration—an important milestone in my career that I’m proud of,” she said. “The best part about this job is that I get to help people almost every day, and I truly enjoy that.”

Outside of the research-proposal world, McDonald enjoys literally being outside.

“I love to hike with my friends and my dogs,” she said. “And I love to read.”

McDonald remarried a little over a year ago, and has two daughters who are carrying on the family’s Big Orange legacy.

“The oldest is about to graduate from UT, and the youngest is beginning her sophomore year in fall 2019.”

She and her family live in nearby Louisville with their two dogs and four cats.